DRASTIC changes to the meals-on-wheels service across the Midhurst and Petworth area are being delayed after concerns expressed by the volunteers who until now have delivered them.
Under the plan, they will no longer be needed to deliver.
Instead, they claim they will be used as ‘care workers’ being asked to perform roles they did not sign up for.
Many volunteers are said to be leaving the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).
In Rustington, one volunteer said she knew of only two remaining out of the 50 or so who volunteered there. But, a spokesman for the RVS said across the county there had been an average of ten to 15 per cent leaving.
In the wake of concerns the new system, due to begin two days ago, will now start in Rustington next Tuesday (November 26) before being phased across the county early next year with paid van drivers taking on hot or chilled deliveries.
David McCullough, RVS chief executive said the RVS was sorry for the confusion: “We have listened to the concerns raised and as a result, we are delaying the rollout of the new service.
“We have been in regular communication with both our volunteers and those who use the service to let them know about the changes.
“It’s very important to us our volunteers and customers feel valued and informed.”
A spokesman said the only change in the role of volunteers was they would be able to choose when they visited the older people they helped, rather than being restricted to spending time with them in a short delivery window.
He added RVS was always looking for more volunteers and was also happy to hear from those who wanted the service.